Hawaii Association of Independent Schools

Kupuna Consulting Services

Given the remoteness of Hawai'i, it is often difficult to find "just in time" and affordable consultants who understand and appreciate the challenges and opportunities of our independent schools. To this end, HAIS strives to provide our member schools with affordable, high-quality, consistent and practical assistance in the following areas:
  • Mission and Vision review and process to change or update
  • Strategic planning
  • School Governance "101"
  • Strengths-based leadership and team-building (StrengthsFinder)
  • 21st century instructional and assessment strategies (Project-Based Learning, Standards-based grading, Professional Learning
  • Communities, and more)
  • Mentoring (Heads, trustees, administrators)
  • Board and Head of School relations and evaluation
  • Child protection workshop
  • Board and leadership development
  • Leading change
  • Curriculum and program audit
  • Conflict management and mediation
  • Research & Development trips to other schools (in Hawai'i, the mainland, and abroad
  • Service learning and social justice
Our trained and experienced team of consultants offer a unique service that is customized to meet the needs of each school. We take the time to get to know each school's needs and desired outcomes, prior to beginning our work. Our consultants and workshop leaders are trained and authorized by HAIS to ensure consistency and quality.

Meet our Consultants

Val Iwashita, Ph.D. 

Dr. Val Iwashita has more than 35 years of experience in education, having served as a teacher, counselor, principal & vice president (Mid-Pacific Institute), and head of school (Iolani School).  In addition to his many years of experience at at the K-12 level, Val also currently teaches at the Shidler College of Business and the College of Education at the University of Hawaii.  He holds a B.Ed. in Psychology and M.Ed. in Counseling & Guidance from the University of Hawaii and an Ed.D. in Counseling & Personnel from Brigham Young University Provo.

The areas in which he is interested in providing consulting services currently include:  governance, strategic planning, leadership, organizational change, organizational culture and other BIG picture items.

Daniel E. White, Ph.D.
Dr. Dan White has a wealth of experience in education, having served as the headmaster of four private schools – Seabury Hall and Island Pacific Academy in Hawaii and Sacramento Country Day School and Webb School of California – and as a history and political science teacher at both the high school and university level.  He has significant experience in the area of school accreditation and, since 2001, has been consulting with independent schools in Hawaii and California on matters related to organizational and leadership development, institutional assessment, board and faculty retreats, and senior leadership searches. Dr. White holds a B.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California at Riverside.


The areas in which he is interested in providing consulting services currently include: board retreat facilitation, board training, accreditation training, leadership mentoring, institutional assessment, and writing workshops.

Robert Witt, M.Ed.
Robert Witt has forty-five years of service in the field of education as a teacher, school administrator, and was the founding Executive Director of the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools. During his twenty-five years as the head of HAIS, he focused primarily upon designing and directing professional development programs for senior level business executives and community leaders.  Robert has considerable experience at both the national and state level in the design, development and improvement of school accreditation strategies and guidelines.  He holds a B.A. in English Literature and a B.S. in Secondary Education, both from the University of Cincinnati, and a M.Ed. in Elementary Education from Ohio University.


The areas in which he is interested in providing consulting services currently include:  generative governance, transformational leadership, teacher professionalism, school improvement strategies via accreditation, schools of the future initiatives and designs, and charter education governance and leadership.

Paul Singer, M.A, M.Ed.
Paul Singer has served as a Head of School, university faculty member, and board member in both the education and non-profit sectors for over 40 years. He earned a B.A. in Sociology, an M.A. in Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education, an M.Ed. in Educational Administration and Supervision, and completed his doctoral coursework at the University of Southern California in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Currently serving on the boards of Hanahauoli School and Kahi Mohala – Sutter Health, Paul is also Head of School Emeritus at Assets School through June 2020 and will become President of the Board for HAIS in July 2019.
The areas in which Paul is interested in providing consulting services include: strategic planning, executive searches, executive coaching, facilitation of board retreats, governance, and administrative retreats.
Sandra J. Theunick, M.Div
During her years in independent education, Sandy served in a variety of roles, but the bulk of her time was as head of five independent day schools both on the mainland and in Hawaii. In her last posting she served as head of the St. Andrew’s Schools in downtown Honolulu, where school leadership was instrumental in founding the all boy elementary division, St. Andrew’s Prep.
Her undergraduate degree in Psychology was earned at Newton College, and her Master of Divinity degree at The Washington Theological Union. Sandy subsequently completed a two- year program in Interfaith Studies at the New Seminary in New York City. After her retirement from St. Andrew’s, Sandy pursued a year of clinical studies in hospital chaplaincy through Pacific Health Ministry where her training site was The Queen’s Medical Center. She is currently preparing her application to become a board -certified chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains.

The areas in which Sandy is interested in providing consulting services include Sandy is most interested in assisting school communities deal directly and productively with areas of conflict around school identity and mission, be those conflicts in decision making focus or other areas of institutional practice. The pressure to “be all things to all people” can lead to confusion, diluted energy and misunderstanding among school constituencies. A constructive and honest process that leads a school to embrace who it is and to develop practices in keeping with that identity is not only liberating, it is extremely productive for all. Sandy is particularly adept at assisting schools with a religious history come to a new sense of ownership of that foundational reality, or, conversely, to engage in an honest process of acknowledgement that the school’s self -understanding and practice no longer reflects that heritage. Sandy also enjoys assisting schools in designing accreditation preparation processes that will truly assist the school community in its growth and learning beyond the accreditation exercise. And finally, her belief that strong schools require strong, collaborative and mutually supportive leadership teams has led her to develop expertise in this area.
Jim Scott, Ed.D.
Jim Scott has worked in 3 independent schools over 42 years. Most recently he was the President for 25 years of Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii, a K-12 school with 3,750 students, the largest single campus independent school in America. During his tenure, Punahou raised over $500 million in capital and endowed gifts to renew and improve learning environments, and to significantly increase the economic diversity of the student body. Before Punahou, Jim was the Headmaster of the Catlin Gabel School in Portland, OR for 9 years, a PK-12 school of 750 students. Jim began his school career at the Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, CA where he served as a teacher, coach, college counselor, and the Academic Dean.
Jim’s national leadership includes serving as a trustee on the NAIS Board and on the College Board. He Chaired the SSATB Board (now the Enrollment Management Association) and currently chairs the Klingenstein Center Advisory Board at Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a former President of the Country Day School Headmasters Association. Regionally, Jim has been the Board Chair of both the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools and the Pacific Northwest Association of Independent Schools. During his career, he has chaired 10 regional accreditation teams. He is currently the Board Chair of the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii.
Jim has also worked as an Undergraduate Admissions counselor at Stanford University and at Harvard University. He has an undergraduate degree from Stanford and a Masters’ degree and a Doctorate degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
The areas in which he is interested in providing consulting services currently include: school renewal and transformation, head of school coaching, board governance, and strategic planning.

Contact Information

If you are interested in using a consultant please contact them directly:
Val Iwashita, Ph.D. Daniel E. White, Ph.D. Robert Witt, M.Ed.




Paul Singer, M.A, M.Ed. Sandra J. Theunick, M.Div Jim Scott, Ed.D 

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